Men’s Basketball Clips Mitchell 93-76 for Ninth-straight Win

Nick Placella puts up a layup

BENNINGTON, Vt. – A solid performance by the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team led to the hosts defeating Mitchell College 93-76 Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

SVC went on top 44-35 through the first 20-minute period before outscoring the Mariners by eight in the second half for its ninth-straight victory.

Southern Vermont is now 11-9 overall on the season and 9-2 in league play after winning its eighth-straight meeting with MC. The Mariners fall to 4-17 on the year and 4-8 against the NECC.

The Mountaineers continue their home stand on Monday when they welcome Becker College to the MAC for a big 5 p.m. Conference contest; Becker will enter that game— the first meeting between the two sides since the 2016 NECC Championship— with an unblemished 11-0 record in league play. MC is now off until Sunday, February 12 when the Mariners head to Lesley University for a 3 p.m. Conference start.

Senior Rayshawn Taylor (Silver Spring, Md.) poured in a game-high 22 points for the Mountaineers while adding four steals, two assists, and a team-best nine rebounds. Junior Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y.) followed with 17 points, five boards and three assists as classmate Claude Payne (South Plainfield, N.J.) had 16 points while tying Taylor with nine more rebounds. Senior Nate Goldsmith (Capitol Heights, Md.) provided 16 more points and six boards in the win, and classmate Ervin Cook (Germantown, Md.) added 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench.

Four Mitchell starters made their way into double figures— being led by sophomore Domenico Santiago (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) who had 16 points and a game-best 11 boards for his ninth double-double of the year. Junior Brayvon Young (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) was right behind with 15 points while freshman Hasani Williams (Miramar, Fla.) tallied 10 points and five boards. Junior Alan Morgan (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) recorded another 10 points in addition to dishing out a game-high four assists.

The Mountaineers connected on 55.4 percent (36-65) of their field goal attempts while the Mariners went 31-for-76 (40.8 percent) from the floor. SVC chalked up 10 three-pointers to MC's four and outscored the visitors 15-8 in fast-break points. Mitchell grabbed a 39-37 edge in rebounds while tallying 15 points off turnovers to the Mountaineers' 10. The Mariners owned a 22-12 advantage in second-chance points, but SVC took a 46-38 upper hand in points from the paint.

Young drilled a three from the right corner to tie it at 3-3 in the early going, only to see Pierre knock it home from the top of the key to spark a 9-0 SVC run which was capped by a Cook triple at the right edge of the arc. Mitchell came back with an 8-2 spurt— tying the game at 15-15 when Morgan pulled up for a fast-break jumper. Taylor took a Goldsmith pass in the right corner and put it up right away for a three, but the Mariners would then go on another 8-2 run to regain the upper hand; Santiago battled through traffic down low before getting nothing but net from the paint to start that stretch and help his team go in front 23-20.

SVC was able to tie it up before Morgan put in back-to-back buckets; he first got a floater in the lane to go, and the MC junior then used a nice touch to get another jumper to go for a four-point Mitchell advantage. The lead would be short-lived, however, as a Taylor triple from the left edge was part of a 10-2 Southern Vermont run which included another three off of Pierre's hand.

The final three minutes of the opening half was jam-packed with action as Jordan got an acrobatic layup to go before Mariner sophomore Geary McLeod (Meriden, Conn.) silenced the Mountaineer faithful with a trey from the left corner. Cook sent in a tripe to make it a 40-32 SVC lead, but Young had an answer on the ensuing possession as he drilled one of his own. Southern Vermont scored the final four points of the stanza with Jordan pump faking before finishing off a great reverse layup from the left side to help the Mountaineers take the 44-35 lead into the break.

A Borders three from the right corner in the onset of the second half started an 8-2 SVC run which was capped with another triple by Pierre. Taylor sank SVC's third trey of the frame on a catch-and-shoot from the left corner, and Payne followed with a layup to make it a 59-43 ballgame. Williams put it off the glass during a 6-2 Mitchell spurt, but Pierre hit an elbow jumper to keep his team on top by a comfortable margin.

Goldsmith sank a three from the top of the arc for a 19-point difference before MC came back with an 11-2 run that included and-one plays by McLeod and Young. Payne helped the Mountaineers gain momentum and energy when he went up and grabbed an offensive rebound before slamming it down for a put-back dunk that started a 10-1 SVC run and put it out of reach for the Mariners. Another old-fashion three-point play by Goldsmith was the final blow as Southern Vermont capped the league victory.